The future of work demands buildings that work for the future employees
Future of Work “Employers can only create the best buildings for their staff if they can anticipate how future trends will shape how people will need to work”, says Carissa Kilgour, Director of Workplace Innovation and Strategy.
How can employers meet the expectations of the younger generation?
By 2025, about 75% of workers will be millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000). Millennials want autonomy and they want to make a real choice about how, where and when they work (source: Deloitte); employers must react to this.
"We are already seeing millennials moving into leadership positions in some sectors, such as tech."
The challenge for employers is to consider how physical workspaces will accommodate the different working patterns and habits, of not only the new generation of workers, but of all workers including freelance working population.
How must the physical working environment adapt?
Many organisations need to consider whether their physical workspace is responding to this desire for greater autonomy and choice.
In some organisations, we are already seeing the move towards activity-based working, where office space is designed around specific employee tasks.
The physical building must use space to encourage and facilitate collaboration or concentration, for example.
How could a freelance workforce affect the physical workplace in the future?
Corporations are relying more on freelancers to access global skills and expertise and so that they, as employers, have more flexibility over their cost base in this rapidly changing environment.
Employee engagement and culture can pose challenges when it comes to getting the best out of talent, meaning there may need to be a change in the organisational ethos.
Everyone, whether they are permanently employed or a freelancer/contractor, must feel welcome and part of the team. This means that the physical space needs to accommodate a variable, flexible, and contingent workforce in an inclusive way.
With the rise in automation how must buildings reflect the shift in skills that employees will need in the future?
Over the next 20 years a third of jobs in London are at risk of being made redundant because of technology.
Future buildings must have spaces that reflect changing skillsets. There will likely be more work involving problem solving, creativity and collaboration around ideas.
"The right building will simplify things for an employee to do their job."
The physical space must make it easier for people, machines and technology to work together. We will see more areas created internally to test ideas for the future around, for example, 3D modelling or virtual reality.
The future workplace must be innovative, creative, flexible and modern.
Can buildings reduce workplace stress now and in the future?
The pace of technology change and adoption means we are moving to an “always on” work pattern resulting in increased levels of stress. The pace of our lives is not helping because so many things affect our mental space at home and at work.
Business leaders and the HR function have a vested interest in simplifying work practices and systems to enable their workers to be most effective.
The physical working environment is not a silver bullet to reducing stress but do not underestimate the impact that a stressful and counterintuitive working environment has on people and ultimately the business.
Intuitive buildings can boost morale and have a positive impact on productivity.
Does current workplace technology meet employees’ expectations?
While consumer technology becomes ever-more intuitive and connected, some office tech can fall behind. Whether it is getting things printed, submitting expenses or ordering products to complete a project, office tech may not advance at the same rate.
Office developers are curating workplace experience by ensuring it is easy for staff and visitors to connect technology, making office spaces more accessible to all users.
Data drives organisations; how can employers make the most of the big and smart data they are gathering in their buildings?
There is a lot of talk around ‘smart’ buildings and how companies can make more use of the Internet of Things.
Data-led connectivity can save organisations money on their catering or office cleaning, for instance, because they do not over-provide food and services.
Smart buildings can also improve the impact an organisation has on the environment by controlling light, temperature and carbon dioxide levels.
We all leave a data footprint wherever we go at work and we need to think harder about how this can be used to improve the individual experience in a space, for instance, this data can be used to connect people. There might be someone in the building but not in the company who has the knowledge, skills or expertise to solve a problem or complete a project. How can we use the data footprint to enable workers to tap into the right resources at the right time?
If organisations are to meet the needs and expectations of future generations at work will it mean the office buildings we see today will become a thing of the past?
The office as we know it now will not exist but there will still be a need for a space where businesses can bring people together. They will still require places where staff, freelancers and other partners can meet to collaborate, co-create, problem-solve and build relationships. The office buildings we use today are different from 10 years ago and the physical workspace has already had to evolve as people’s roles have changed.
The future workplace must be innovative, creative, flexible and modern. Automation may be replacing jobs but there will still be jobs to do.
About Land Securities:
Land Securities is the UK’s largest listed commercial real estate company. Our £14.4 billion portfolio totals 23.6 million sq ft and includes some of London’s most desirable office buildings and the UK’s most successful shopping and leisure destinations.